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|Supports Objectives(s)||Increasing Awareness, Empathy Building, Behavior Change|
Description of Tool Class
Game Development Tools allow peacebuilders to create Games - interactive media that incentivize the player to engage with content.
The value of games as a tool for peacebuilding is that games is that they are interactive. Rather than passively communicating a message as with print media, Radio and Television, games allow the user to respond to input received through the game and, through their decisions and behaviors, change the outcome of the game. In theory, interactive experiences can produce a deeper impact and will be more likely to shape the knowledge, attitudes, and behaviors of the player.
Games can be used for Empathy Building by prompting players can role play, adopting the perspective of another person and gaining new insight to their situation. Cis Gaze and Explain menstrual periods to me like IAMA (cis) man are two Twine-based projects that try to get the player to empathize with the experience of transgender people. PeaceMaker prompts players to role play as a leadership figure in Israel or Palestine and try to achieve a peaceful solution and builds empathy by prompting the player to respond to the challenges faced by each side of the conflict.
Games can also be used to Inform Audiences users by creating an environment where knowledge of an issue needs to be demonstrated in order to succeed. In Together Strong the player is challenged to help a friend suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and must learn appropriate strategies in order to help him and succeed. Games can be used to instruct the player on moral concepts as well as facts. Papers, Please puts the the player in the shoes of a boarder guard in a fictional post-soviet state and has him/her perform the process of allowing people across the border. The game is designed to make the player experience the dangers of authoritative state power, and question the citizen's role in doing bad things in the name of an authority.
Games, like other media, can be very challenging to make. Many games, particularly 3D titles, require advanced knowledge of code, art, music, etc in order to produce. Some games, however, are simpler to produce, particularly games relying on text. Peacebuilders without advanced skills or a significant budget may find low-skill level tools like Twine or Scratch to be more applicable to their work than other more powerful engines such as Unity 3D and the Unreal Engine.
Impact and Peace Games Networks
- Peace Games Exchange Group - a Google Group of games for peace oriented non-profits and developers.
- Games for Change A New York city based nonprofit that hosts a yearly conference on games for impact.